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Press release

December 21, 2001

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December, 2001 | Consumer Protection

Lottery's Response to Scratchers® and Top Prize Issue


  • The public should feel absolutely confident that every Scratchers® game currently on the market still has top prizes that have not been claimed.

  • The Lottery can confidently say this because significant changes were immediately taken to ensure this after the Lottery discovered the unfortunate occurrence where some games were still on the streets after the last top prize was sold.

  • The Lottery knows that it cannot fulfill its public mission unless it has the full trust of Californians. That is why the Lottery instituted new processes with its Scratchers games.

    First, the California Lottery is now aggressively ending games earlier than other lotteries. Most other lotteries end their instant ticket games when they find out the last top prize has been claimed. On the other hand, the California Lottery now will always pull the tickets off the street when there is only one top prize that has not been claimed. And, if for some reason, the last top prize is claimed during the four weeks when tickets are being picked up, retailers will be notified immediately to stop selling that game and consumers will be notified of this fact in-store.

    Anyone can easily find out how many top prizes have not been claimed in any active game. A person can call 1-800-LOTTERY during normal business hours to get that information.

    Finally, the Lottery has added language to its materials to notify players that some prizes including the top prize may have been claimed after the game start.

  • Regrettably, after surveying 137 games that were introduced after July 1996, the Lottery found eleven games that had been on the market after the last top prize had been sold. Compared to a total of over $4.8 billion in total revenue from Scratchers, the Lottery realized about $892,000 in revenue after the last top prize had been claimed. To put it into perspective, this amount represents less than two one-hundredths of one percent of the total Scratchers revenue during the period.

  • Also, it should be noted that Scratchers games typically dedicate over 90% of the prize money to prizes other than the top prize. And, unlike SuperLotto Plus, these top prizes are not that large. In these eleven games, there were still many other prizes available after the last top prize had been claimed. In fact, the Lottery paid out a little over $2.3 million in other prizes in those eleven games after the last top prize had been claimed.

  • Again, the California Lottery wants to assure its players that it has corrected the situation and that they should feel comfortable that there are still top prizes remaining when a game is still active. To further reassure its players of the Lottery's good faith, a special promotion for Scratchers players is planned for February. With a non-winning ticket from any game - past or present, a player can enter a second chance drawing with a chance to win prizes from $1,000 to $25,000. A total of $1 million in additional prize money will be made available to Scratchers players.
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See More Press Releases: December, 2001 | Consumer Protection |